The Extend Play (EP) album format is the latest trend in music. Industry heavyweights like Black Coffee and Themba have also formed part of the plethora of artists who have adopted this music format and packaging. This format is popular with the younger and fresher crop of artists like The Big Hash, Kabza De Small and the likes. It is no coincidence that the younger artists are now leaning towards short format projects and extended play records. The rise of access to the internet has changed the industry forever. We now consume music differently, at a higher rate. The ultimate question is, are Full-Length LPs still relevant in the climate dominated by EPs?
By looking at the U.S charts we see that since 2000 – 2018 EP’s (Blue) sales have grown drastically and on the other hand, full length albums (Orange) sales have dropped. The can be attributed to multiple factors.
Factors could be that artists/producers are having to release more often to retain listener and maintain interest. This is more noticeable when taking looking at the independent music scene. In addition, the drop in album sales can be attributed to the rise of the internet and streaming culture. Does this mean that artists should stop releasing albums and rely on extended play and singles?
Firstly, albums are a great addition to an artist’s catalogue. An artist can easily tell a continuous story through a full-length album mainly because of its flexible duration and playtime. Ultimately, an album creates an image for artists that fans will associates with your music. Arguably, an EP or mixtape can produce similar results, however, Full-Length Albums are institutionally an official musical artist statement.
On the contrary, EPs are usually four or six tracks compiled together, this format does not necessarily follow a strict theme typically like how an album would. Traditionally, EPs are a compilation of throwaway tracks from an LP (hence the name), this is why they are sporadic and free in their delivery. EPs allow artists creative license. They are shorter and easier digestible forms of music. In a time where a human’s attention span is measured at 8 seconds, its important for artists to consider how they deliver and make music. Shorter albums have proven to do well on the Billboard chats globally. However, is the South African industry ready for EP domination? Are full length Albums still relevant? Ultimately it falls to the listener as to which format they prefer to ingest their music.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below and which format you listen to more often.